5 Extensions to Enhance Google+

Google is currently testing their latest attempt at breaking into social networking: Google Plus. Even though the service is in it’s infancy 3rd party developers are already unleashing extensions to enhance it.

Google has internally dogfooded the application (really it’s several applications loosely tied together) and and are now extensively testing it with a limited number of users. There’s isn’t a public API available to developers yet but that hasn’t slowed down developers who are already busy developing extensions and add-ons to enhance features. Following are four extensions that you can use to enhance Google+.

[Read more…]


Google Sets Sights on Skype: Bakes Video Chat Into Chrome

Watch you back Skype/Microsoft, Google is gunning for you. Alongside their social initiatives, Google is now implementing its open-source audio and video chat software into the Chrome browser, enabling users to chat in real-time without having to load up a secondary client like Skype.

Google has started to build its open-source WebRTC software into Chrome. WebRTC was introduced in May as a new open tech that allows developers to create quick HTML and Javascript APIs for building voice and video chat applications on the web. With WebRTC built into Chrome, users will be able to start video chats over Google Talk without the need for installing Google’s plug-in first. Oh and they’ve introduced this as royalty-free and are promising to work with other browsers developers(probably Mozilla and Opera initially, but then IE and Safari at some point too) to flesh out the project. This means that anyone building a site can make use of the new tech, and in theory, construct their own personal Skype battering ram. I bet someone is at MS is questioning if they should have spent that massive amount of money for Skype (then again, maybe they knew this was coming and they HAD to in order to compete?!).

The WebRTC (a la Google Talk via the browser) will certainly help the ChromeOS initiative, it’s one more piece of the “web as the OS” strategy coming into place. I also have to imagine that this will play VERY well in with Google’s new social initiative: Google+.


Drag and Drop Gmail Attachments

Gmail added support for a HTML5 feature that has been recently included in Firefox and Google Chrome: selecting files using drag and drop. If you use Firefox 3.6+ or Chrome 4+, you can now add attachments by dragging the files from your favorite file manager to Gmail. When you drag the files, Gmail shows a drop zone where you need to place the files.

“We’ll enable this for other browsers as soon as they support this feature. For now, you can drag and drop attachments in Chrome and Firefox only,” mentions Google.

The nice thing about this feature is that it no longer uses the Flash uploader, which isn’t very reliable. What I don’t understand is why Gmail still uses the Flash uploader to select multiple files directly from the browser, now that the input tag supports more than one file. If you disable Flash in Firefox 3.6 and don’t use drag and drop, you can only attach one file at a time:


JSNES – NES emulator written entirely in Javascript shows off Chrome speed

Ben Firshman has ported the vNES into Javascript. Seriously… in JavaScript. While that’s pretty cool itself what it really shows is the blinding fast speed at which Google Chrome can handle JavaScript. In Google Chrome you get Full speed, 60 FPS emulation. Firefox… about 10 FPS. Now you can goof off with some cool old school NES games right from your browser… as long as your browser is Chrome (COMEON GOOGLE… GET EXTENSIONS IN THERE SO I CAN SWITCH!)



Optimize FireFox’s SQLITE Database to Improve Performance

Firefox uses SQLITE databases to store lots of its settings. By the time the databases grow and Firefox starts working slowly. It will take a lot of time to load during startup, the overall speed will be effected, and browsing Histories will be too slow. This is very common problem and it occurs largely because of fragmentation of databases.

SpeedyFox takes care of any database fragmentation and thus makes Firefox zippier. You might not see a difference if you try SpeedyFox on a fresh Firefox install, it works great after you have been using Firefox for some time. Just close Firefox, run SpeedyFox and point it to the profile you want to optimize.

Once installed, SpeedyFox automatically detects your Firefox’s default profile. If you have more than one profile, you can select the one you want to optimize from the drop-down menu. If you have portable version of Firefox, choose your profile path manually by selecting “Custom…” profile. All you have to do is hit the Speed Up Firefox button.

The optimization process can take anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour depending on how large your databases are. The whole optimization process is safe as it does not effect your history, bookmarks, passwords, etc.

Download SpeedyFox here.